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"The Music of Friends": A History of Chamber Music

Chamber music is a vibrant form of classical music written for small groups: duos, trios, quartets, quintets, and beyond. Goethe famously described chamber music as a conversation. Indeed, this form known as “the music of friends” is incredibly social. There is no conductor to manage the flow of ideas, so each musician must listen intently and respond to the dialogue of fellow performers. Historically, chamber music was composed for the entertainment of the rich and powerful and performed in palaces across Europe. Today, it delights a wide audience thanks to its intimacy, subtle colors, and depth of expression. Masters such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Debussy, Shostakovich, and Copland all have added to the exquisite legacy of this genre. In this course, listen to selections of great chamber music from throughout history, and explore the interconnected stories of the pieces’ composers, patrons, virtuosi, and performance histories. Deepen your knowledge of classical music as you explore this repertoire with us. No musical knowledge is needed for the enjoyment of this class.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • Increased familiarity with chamber music
  • An understanding of the history, legacy, and enduring popularity of chamber music

Ideal for

  • Classical music lovers and those wishing to learn more about classical music
  • The curious and creative

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